A little over a month ago I wrote about the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival organized by LADD, a nonprofit organization for whom I am now doing public relations, bringing world renowned photographer Rick Guidotti here to share his – and ReelAbilities’ – message that it is our differences that give individual’s their own unique beauty.
Through the ReelAbilities Education Outreach Team, Rick spoke with hundreds of area high schools. And already, something truly outstanding has occurred to spread impact. Milford High School Photography Teacher Janelle Schunk came up with an idea for a project pairing students with and without disabilities to create an exhibition called Different Lives Same Beauty.
Milford’s Photography I class worked with students in the school’s multiple disabilities unit to learn about each other’s differences AND similarities. In addition to create beautiful portraits, building relationships and friendships were also goals.
“I was nervous when I first met John, who is nonverbal. I wondered how I was going to make him smile. We learned he likes beads and were able to use beads to get him to smile and look at the camera,” student Leah Breuer shared in a blog post on the Milford Schools site. “Before I had never really talked to the kids in the MD unit, but after this project I know all of their names and I say hi in the hallways.”
What is really awesome about this is the lasting impact this project will have as a foundation for future good friends, neighbors, citizens, employers and employees.
Please click to see WLWT coverage.
Speaking about success in the classroom
What is inclusion and why is it important in the positive growth for all children? Sara Bitter, ReelAbilities Education Outreach Team chair, was interviewed recently by Jason’s Connection about the impact of ReelAbilities’ work in area schools. Please click here to read her interview.
She shared how inspiration for working with ReelAbilities came from her son who has a disability. When he entered kindergarten, she gave a presentation to his class. I think the first thing the presentation did was, it helped the kids understand some of the challenges of his disability. More importantly though, it helped them to see (through real pictures) all of his many capabilities, she told Jason’s Connection.
“…we shouldn’t assume that because someone has a disability, he or she can’t have big achievements. Can’t have great life experiences. Or can’t get a job, have a family or have a successful life. Modifications and accommodations throughout a person’s education will help them be able to participate in almost every academic and extracurricular activity so they can grow into productive self-determined adults. It just takes an ability to think outside of the box and make this happen.
Please click here to learn more about the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival Outreach Program.